Coronavirus (Covid 19) – Update

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus Covid-19 situation all staff at the Barnet UNISON Branch office are working from home in line with the Government’s instruction.

If you are a member seeking advice or support from UNISON the quickest way to receive a response is to email us at, if at all possible. You can leave a message speaking slowly and clearly please include your name and telephone number on 020 8359 2088. We will respond as soon as we can.

Alternatively you can contact UNISON Direct online only

To Join UNISON click the following link

Barnet School Template letter to your school

Dear Barnet UNISON Members

UNISON HQ have sent an email to all of our members working in Schools.

This is an extract from the email sent on 28 May 2020.

“However, many staff will still be expected to go in and we have all been inundated with requests by members asking for advice on whether they can refuse to go in on 1 June. Following discussion with NEU, other unions and our legal team the email to members includes a model letter for members who have serious concerns about their health and safety and face the prospect of being forced into the workplace under unsafe conditions from 1 June. We have asked members to specify these concerns in their letter by highlighting where the school is not meeting the joint unions risk assessment checklist. They can also include scenarios where they have not been consulted on risk assessment.”

Here is the link to UNISON email message below.

If you have serious concerns about health and safety in your workplace then please use the EMAIL Template below to send to your School and remember to copy in Barnet UNISON at



Dear ***********

re: Health and Safety

I am writing to inform you that, in order to protect myself and/or other persons from danger, I will not be attending [name of school/college] to work there at present. I will continue to be available to work from home.


Since the government announced its decision to extend the opening of schools, the impact that has in terms of the health and safety of pupils, staff and the community has been widely discussed. The mere fact of an increase in the number of pupils and staff attending school poses an increased risk.


UNISON and the other TUC education unions have outlined a set of tests to be met nationally and locally before it could be deemed safe for schools to open more widely. These tests have been set with a view to safely increasing pupil numbers. UNISON does not believe these tests have been met in full. In particular the new test, track and trace system has only just been introduced and it is too early to know if this is effective. Independent scientific advice concurs with UNISON’s view that wider opening on 1 June is not safe.


I believe that not attending work in the current circumstances is an appropriate step for me to take for the following reasons:

1. The dangers that are preventing me from attending work are the risk of contracting coronavirus and or spreading coronavirus to others.

2. The person(s)I am seeking to protect are myself, my family, our pupils, their families, my colleagues, their families and members of the public.


3. I believe that this danger is serious because coronavirus infection is potentially fatal and has already resulted in more than 37,000 deaths in the UK and there are additional circumstances in my situation because: –

  • I meet the government’s definition of clinically extremely vulnerable.
  • I live with someone who meets the government’s definition of clinically extremely vulnerable.
  • I am clinically vulnerable and proposed measures will not be sufficient to reduce the risk of my exposure to Covid19 to an acceptable level.
  • I live with someone who is clinically vulnerable and proposed measures will not be sufficient to reduce the risk of my exposure to Covid19 to an acceptable level.
  • I am Black (referred to by government as BAME) and it is well documented that the risk to me if I contract Covid19 is more serious. Measures proposed will not be sufficient to reduce the risk of my exposure to Covid19 to an acceptable level.
  • I live with someone who is Black (referred to by government as BAME) and it is well documented that the risk to that person if they contract Covid19 is more serious. Measures proposed will not be sufficient to reduce the risk of my exposure to Covid19 to an acceptable level.

4. I believe that, if I were to attend work, the danger would be imminent because

  • I don’t believe that your plans for 1 June comply in full with the joint union checklist – available here for primary schools and here for special schools. [delete checklist as appropriate]
  • In particular, the following measures have not been implemented or adequately implemented:

[add here the specific elements where the school has not complied with the checklist and what your specific concerns are]

In addition: –

  • My journey to work involves using public transport, where I would be in very close proximity to many other people, some of whom may be infected and or carrying the virus.
  • My risk of exposure to Covid19 cannot be reduced to an acceptable level.


5. I will be happy to return to the workplace when confirmed that it is safe to do so, for example if the following measures have been put into place:

  • The joint unions’ tests have been met nationally and locally.
  • The joint union checklist (linked to above) has been complied with in full and all measures put in place.

In the meantime, I am of course willing to carry out any of my duties, or other alternative duties at my current grade, that can reasonably be undertaken from my home.

Yours sincerely,

[Employee Name]

Cc Barnet UNISON





“IMPORTANT Update: Guidance and template letter for vulnerable employees (England)”

28 May 2020.

Please read the latest guidance provided by UNISON

This guidance covers:

1 Clinically extremely vulnerable employees (people at high risk)

2 Clinically vulnerable employees (people at moderate risk)

3 Employees living with / caring for the vulnerable or extremely vulnerable

4 Black employees

5 Older employees (over 60)

6 Employees who have childcare responsibilities

7 Employees who are feeling anxious about returning to work

8 Template letter to head teacher

Click on the link to read the guidance

If you need any help with this advice please contact the branch office at




Barnet Homes UNISON Zoom meeting

Please join the first Barnet Homes UNISON Zoom meeting

Thursday the 28th of May 1pm.

We will be discussing the latest proposals in regard to the restructure of housing services.

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 871 3273 4583

Password: 139984

One tap mobile

+13462487799,,87132734583#,,1#,139984# US (Houston)

+16465588656,,87132734583#,,1#,139984# US (New York)

Updated: Barnet Schools Risk Assessments for Reopening submitted to Barnet UNISON

This list is accurate as of Thursday 28 May 2020.

  1. Akiva,
  2. All Saints N20,
  3. Ashmole Academy (Primary and Secondary).
  4. Barnfields,
  5. Beit Shvidler
  6. Bell Lane,
  7. Blessed Dominic,
  8. Broadfields
  9. Brunswick Park
  10. Christ Church Primary
  11. Christ College Finchley,
  12. Coppetts Wood,
  13. Cromer Road,
  14. Danegrove
  15. Dollis Primary,
  16. Edgware
  17. Elliot Foundation,
  18. Fairway,
  19. Foulds School,
  20. Goldbeaters and Orion
  21. Grasvenor
  22. Hendon,
  23. Hollickwood
  24. Livingstone School,
  25. Mapledown,
  26. Monken Hadley
  27. Monkfrith,
  28. Moss Hall Nursery,
  29. Noam Primary
  30. Oaklodge Special School,
  31. Our Lady of Lourdes
  32. Rosh Pinah
  33. Sacks Morasha
  34. Sacred Heart Primary,
  35. Squires Lane Learning Federation (Tudor and Manorside).
  36. St Agnes,
  37. St Catherines,
  38. St Pauls N11,
  39. Summerside REACH Academy,
  40. Sunnyfields,
  41. Trent Primary,
  42. Woodridge Primary.


your school in not on this list but you have seen a Risk Assessment for your school, please contact Barnet UNISON on

WE NEED YOU: Become a rep


OK, the big return to work is about to commence –

Do you feel safe?

Has your workplace been Risk Assessed?

Have you had PPE provided?

Do you want to be part of the conversation about returning to work safely with your employer?


Workplace shop Stewards are the lifeblood of the union

YOU are the experts in your area of work

Help us to help you

Become a UNISON Steward and make the return to work safe for you and your colleagues.

Email us at

Breaking News: Barnet UNISON ending Lockdown survey results


We asked our members (most of whom are working from home) one question.

“Do you feel that it is safe for you to go back to work?”

94% of our School UNISON members felt it was not safe.

85% of our Capita UNISON members felt it was not safe.

79% of our Barnet Council UNISON members felt it was not safe.

79% of our Barnet Homes members felt it was not safe



Capita refusing share COVID risk assessments with Barnet UNISON

Dear Members

Barnet UNISON as part of our efforts to ensure all of our members was safe contacted Capita in order that we could take part in the Risk Assessment consultation process.

Our branch has been busy for the last 8 weeks supporting and advising our members working and dealing with the COVID 19 risk in the workplace.

Whilst many staff are able to work from home there are staff who have to go out into the community to deal with the public.

It is important that all employers comply with Health and Safety Legislation in relation to Risk Assessments.

Now more than ever all employers should understand the importance of carrying out Risk Assessments for all of their staff in order they can provide assurances their workplace is safe.

It is important to note but as of Friday 22 May 2020, Barnet UNISON has not been consulted on any Risk Assessment for any job role being carried out by our members on both Capita contracts.

We have seen a Capita generic Risk Assessment which as soon as we challenged it Capita admitted it was out of date.

Barnet UNISON was informed that Capita compliance team issued 3 generic risk assessments (which have seen) which we were told would be a starting point for discussions around role specific Risk Assessments for staff working on the two Barnet contracts.

This was positive news.

Barnet UNISON requested the contact details for the manager responsible for coordinating the Risk Assessments on both Capita contracts in Barnet.

Capita responded stating they will not share or agree all risk assessments as requested as this is not something as an organisation that we do.

The health, safety and welfare of our members working for Capita is a serious matter and as such we have escalated this matter to UNISON National as the following legislation must be followed by the employer.

It is worrying that in this current COVID Pandemic where serious and fatal risks are being faced by workers every day that any employer would refuse to share or agree Risk Assessments with a Trade Union.

Relevant Legislation: Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Regulation 3 – employers must conduct suitable and sufficient risk assessments

Regulation 4 – requires employer to control hazards at source

Regulation 7 – employer must appoint competent persons to conduct RA

Regulation 10 – workers must be given comprehensive and relevant information about risks

Regulation 13 – employers must ensure workers are capable and trained

Regulation 16/19 – RA must take account of women of child-bearing age and young people’s risks.

Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

Regulation 4 states:

Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective.

If you have any concerns please email the branch on






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